What is it that motivates you to run ProductTank meetups?
Altruistically – building the product management capacity of New Zealand, which we’ve identified as being a gap that’s holding our industry back from being more successful globally.
Selfishly – building the community so that when I’m hiring I have a bigger talent pool to choose from!
Who plays an important part in Auckland’s ProductTanks?
Audrey Cheng who is an amazing product leader and has made an impact on the global stage, as well as being a massive supporter of the Auckland community. Also, Andrew Tokeley (AKA ‘Tokes’) who drives the Wellington community and is trying to support and impact the NZ startup community.
Tasneem Gould (AKA ‘Tas’) has been driving the Christchurch product community, and also supporting efforts to make our industry more diverse. Plus, Ramanan Moorthy who has been the driving force behind many of our events and has done an awesome job of sourcing international speakers to help our isolated community learn from the best in the world. He’s also been our link to Xero who have been super supportive in hosting and sponsoring events.
How many members does your ProductTank have?
We have 3200 members signed up and approximately 400 are active right now.
How many ProductTanks have there been in Auckland to date?
57. Some of these pre-date us joining the ProductTank/Mind the Product community.
For those events, we have many venues across Auckland – Xero, Pushpay and GridAKL (an Auckland Council venue) are regular locations for us. Currently, our biggest challenge is finding spaces with a capacity of 100+ to accommodate the level of interest in our events.
What can you tell us about Auckland Product Community?
The NZ community is quite large, and we’re fortunate to have a high level of diversity (40 – 50% female event attendees). It’s also very globally focused, as many NZ organisations have international presences and customer bases.
The level of knowledge we see at ProductTanks is very wide and experience ranges from those who are just interested in the role, to product leaders. The product leader community is relatively immature and NZ is still developing this talent pool.
Which talks have been a hit?
Our double-header panel discussion event with Rich Mironov and Bruce McCarthy was extremely popular – the community was very keen (and fortunate) to have these two leaders in town at the same time!
In terms of format, apart from international speakers, the most popular talks tend to be those featuring locals sharing how things really work in their worlds – how they’ve applied the theory in real-world contexts.
How does ProductTank help product people?
Personally, it’s helped me to grow into a product leadership role (I’m currently Head of Product for an Enterprise SaaS org). In terms of the community, the growth has been amazing, both in terms of numbers and capabilities. We’ve watched many folks in our community grow their confidence (and job titles…).
We do want to thank the global ProductTank community and the Mind the Product leaders for their support. As we’re down at the end of the earth we really appreciate their help, guidance and connections to the rest of the world!
Can you share any fun facts about Auckland?
We’re as far as it is possible to be from all three of the main Mind the Product conferences (which we may have mentioned before…).
We’re also from the future – in terms of timezones we’re always the furthest ahead. Something we may have leveraged on past World Product Days!
ProductTank members Sireen and Natasha also shared a couple of fun facts about Auckland. For example, the Maori name for Auckland is Tamaki Makaurau and Auckland is built on about 50 volcanoes – in fact, you can see six without ever leaving the city.
A Word From ProductTank Auckland’s members
Auckland’s ProductTank members were quick to get in touch and tell us what they enjoy and appreciate about their regular meetups, as well as the people who run them. Of course, earlier Anthony did a great job of mentioning key players such as Audrey, Andrew, Tasneem and Ramanan, but members gave Anthony a shout out of his own.
“Anthony seems passionate about product and learning and he’s a great supporter of the Auckland product management community,” said Natasha Ching, who gave an additional nod to co-organiser David Jeames. “David is also a co-organiser of the Auckland ProductTank meetup group who made me feel welcome.”
Natasha also told us how ProductTank has helped her to focus her learning and to grow as a product manager. “I’m not a great networker but I think ProductTank is fantastic for Product Managers who want to build connections,” she told us. “Auckland has a growing product community. There and many people actively seeking to learn from events like ProductTank meetups and from hearing about what each other are doing.”
Sireen Collins describes ProductTank Auckland as small, diverse, collaborative, friendly and helpful. For her, it’s provided exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking and give her access to great new contacts she can consult if ever she needs another set of eyes and ears.